Latest - Scams and Cons

 

Don't Let Flight Ticket Fraudster take off with your Cash

Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, is warning half term holiday makers to avoid fraudulent flight ticket sellers as they use new tactics.


The reporting centre, which has received 110 reports with total losses of £98,043, has collated intelligence that fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad.

New tactics - how does it happen?

Victims are being cold called by fraudsters purporting to be travel companies. However fraudsters in these cases are using new tactics to gain the victim’s trust. Intelligence suggests they appear to know that the victim has recently been searching to book flights online. It is suspected that this is because the victim has provided their contact details when making a search for flights on a bogus website which records their personal details. Once contacted, the victim wrongly believes the call to be genuine and a deliberately low quote for the desired flights tempts many victims into making payment.

After having made a payment for flights as a result of the call, victims have reported receiving a confirmation email but further enquiries with the airline have revealed their booking does not exist. When victims have attempted to re-contact the suspect they have found that all contact has been severed.

Protect yourself

Action Fraud is urging people to be wary of unsolicited calls, emails and texts offering questionably good deals on flights. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

If you’re purchasing tickets from a company you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, such as searching the company’s name on the ABTA and ATOL databases. You can also ask friends or family for advice before you make a purchase. 

Avoid paying for tickets by bank transfer as it offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or payment services such as PayPal.

Never reveal any personal or financial details as a result of an unsolicited call, email or text. Even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine.

Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud said: “We see holiday and flight related frauds at peak times throughout the year, but this type of fraud is different.

“By contacting people who have recently searched for flights online, the fraudsters are able to gain the victim’s trust much more quickly.

“It’s essential that people check with ABTA and ATOL before using a flight ticket website or broker to make sure the site is legitimately authorised.”

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: “Travellers are at risk from increasingly sophisticated attempts to sell them fraudulent flight tickets. For those unlucky enough to fall victim to this malicious activity, it causes real financial and emotional distress, while also shattering their plans for a holiday or a visit to see family and friends.

“To protect yourself from fake flight tickets research the company you are booking with and if booking online to thoroughly check the web address to make sure it is legitimate.

“For further advice visit abta.com and if you think you’ve bought a fraudulent ticket report it to Action Fraud.”

For more information about how to protect yourself online, visit Cyber Aware and Take Five.

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Some Victims of Pension Scams have lost more than £1m in Savings!

Intelligence gathered by members of the multi-agency Project Bloom group, which was set up to tackle pension scams, has found some people who had managed to put away more than £1m have lost their retirement funds to criminals.

New Action Fraud data reveals that two people have reported that they have lost the seven-figure sums. However, as it is believed that the majority of scam victims never contact the authorities, this total may only be a fraction of the total number of people who have handed over such large pension pots.

On average, victims of pension scams lost £91,000 each to fraudsters in 2017. They reported receiving cold-calls, offers of free pension reviews and promises that they would get high rates of return - all of which are key warning signs of scams.

A ban on pension cold calling came into force earlier this month. Firms who break the rules could face penalties of up to half a million pounds. Research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority highlights that a large proportion of pension holders consider themselves to be too savvy to be scammed.

Nicola Parish, TPR’s Executive Director of Frontline Regulation, said:

“Victims of scams are often traumatised by what has happened to them and many inevitably are left questioning how they are going to afford to retire. The average loss of a victim is £91,000 but these Action Fraud reports show that people can also lose much, much more. However large your pension pot, you must be vigilant and able to spot and avoid a scam.”

Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, said:

“These statistics prove that the consequences of falling victim to a pension scam can be devastating. Victims can lose their life savings and are left facing retirement with little or no income. This is why it’s so important that you are vigilant if you receive an offer about your pension out of the blue and that you check who you are dealing with. If you think you have been a victim of pension fraud, please report it to us.”

The partners in Bloom will meet this week to discuss the scams problem and how the partners could work even closer together to target those responsible.

Visit www.fca.org.uk/ScamSmart to understand the signs of a scam if you are considering transferring your pension. If you think you have been a victim of a pension scam, report it to Action Fraud online at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by calling 0300 12302040. 

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Fraudsters posing as officials - from your bank or the police

Courier Scam is one of the fastest rising types of fraud in the country. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated and believable. They can catch out anyone - people like you and me – if we are not alert.  80% of scams start with a phone call.

In a recent example, a criminal posing as a bank employee called a retired bank manager and warned him his account was being attacked - and he should move all money to a new account to protect it. They gave him details of the new account – and a phone number to call to check they were authentic.

He believed the scammers, made the transfer and lost £8000.

How to keep safe from this type of fraud.

1. Banks or Police will never contact you in this way – so put down the phone.
2. Check with your bank using another phone – as the fraudsters can stay on the line.
3. Don’t call a number they give you – use the number on the rear of your bank card.
4. Never give your PIN to anyone
5. If people call you ‘out of the blue’ - never give them any personal details.
If scammed - what next?
6. Report this has happened - Call Hampshire Police on 101 and ask for Operation Signature.
More

For more advice on tell tale signs and how to avoid being a fraud victim see the Hampshire Police website: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/prevent-personal-fraud/

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Advice issued following reports of bogus police officer scam

We are urging people to be wary following reports of a scam in which fraudsters pose as police officers.

On Tuesday 22 January, an 87-year-old man from Fordingbridge was called by a man who claimed to be Detective Inspector.  The victim was told he had been targeted by fraudsters, and that he needed to go to the bank and withdraw £4,000.

The fraudster told the victim to lie to bank staff about why he was withdrawing the money. He also persuaded him to stay on his mobile phone as he entered the bank. Fortunately bank staff became suspicious and reported the incident to police. No money was lost.

Similar incidents have been reported recently in Blackwater and Romsey.

This is a common scam in which often older or more vulnerable people are targeted.

We would like to remind people that officers, banks or any other authority figure will never call in this way.

If you do get a call from someone who claims you need to withdraw money from a bank, hang up and report it. It will be a scam.

Make a note of the date and time of the call, and the number, if available – this information could help any future investigation.

Never reveal your bank details or give personal information to people who cold call.

If you know somebody who could be taken in by such a scam, please take the time to speak to them and give them our advice.

You can make yourself aware of this type of scam and how to protect yourself against them by visiting the Action Fraud website: www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you or someone you know falls victim to this type of offence, please report it immediately to police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress

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Council Tax Scams

New Forest District Council are warning residents to be on their guard against a scam offering council tax refunds and suggesting that your property is in an incorrect Tax Band.

Scammers are e-mailing residents to inform them they have overpaid their council tax.  The e-mail is sent from; InfoCouncilTaxOverpaymentAlert

To receive the alleged overpayment, the e-mail asks the customer to respond within three days and to provide their bank details .  

Our clear advice to residents is to never give out your bank details and to delete the e-mail.

More Information online

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